Neil Lennon hailed his goalscoring midfielder Stevie Mallan for having the technique of Celtic great Lubo Moravcik but the Hibernian manager insisted he wasn’t “getting excited” about his side closing the gap on Hearts at the top of the league.
Mallan scored two in Hibs’ 6-0 demolition of Hamilton Accies, boosting his tally for the season to nine – all scored from outside the penalty box – and his boss admitted he was starting to expect the Scotland Under-21 man to hit the target every time.
“He’s an enigma really,” Lennon said. “I’ve never seen anyone hit a ball as consistently well as that since Moravcik days. He puts dip or bend on it 20 to 25 yards out. You’re disappointed if he doesn’t work the goalkeeper, actually. That’s nine goals he’s got from midfield already – exceptional going at this stage of the season. We’re delighted with him.”
Lennon reckoned a thumping victory like this had been in the wind for his team. “A result like that has been coming,” he explained. “We’ve been dominating games and creating lots of chances. It’s very pleasing that the players have been rewarded.”
He called the victory a complete team performance. “[Florian] Kamberi has been a revelation, [Martin] Boyle great as well. [Efe] Ambrose again outstanding, [Mark] Milligan has been important and at 0-0 we needed our goalkeeper.”
Lennon was asked if he was pleased to have cut Hearts’ lead at the top to two points, at least until today, but he said: “Not my concern. Hearts have had a brilliant start but we’ve not looked at them. We have a job to do here. We’re concentrating on building a team and slowly but surely it’s happening.
“We’re in a good place and playing some great football but we’re not getting excited.
“We still have to play Celtic, Rangers and Hearts and we’ll be tested. It’s only eight games. After 20 we’ll see where we are. We’ve maybe been fortunate with the run of games, we’ve got big games coming up that will test us.”
Hamilton manager Martin Canning admitted the manner of the defeat was crushing. “As performances go that was up there with the worst,” he said. “It was unacceptable in terms of the level of fight and commitment.
“That’s what we’re known for and that’s what we are: a working club, a fighting club and some of the new players need to realise that, that’s what we expect when we bring you to this club. First and foremost you give me everything you’ve got and that’s where we start and that didn’t happen.”